Ok, it just got real

Long time readers of 15,000 Miles of Experiences, Adventures and Thoughts know that the name Mountainstroh was derived by my many attempts at climbing Mt Rainier.


All of which ended with me looking like this heading down while others continued up


Since Christmas of 2007, however,  I traded in the ice axe and crampons for my two-wheeled time machine. And now, 7.5 years and 18,500 miles later I have succeeded in every challenge I have set for myself.

It may have been that I was trying to over compensate for never seeing the top of that mountain (only to myself mind you, friends, family, loved ones and especially Michelle always made sure to let me know how proud they were of me, and they meant every word.), but since the year I started I have pushed myself farther and harder each and every year, and reached every goal.

I have completed some of the most iconic northwest rides.  Seattle to Portland, 204 miles once in two days and twice now in one day (I am officially retired now). RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver (BC) and Party), High Pass Challenge (Packwood to Mt St Helens and back in under 10 hours), Reach the Beach, and the most strenuous to date, The Crater Lake Century.


Add to it a trek along the entire Oregon coast, I have, in different legs, ridden from Vancouver BC to Crescent City California.  I have some good friends who are real cyclist (Sarah and Joe for two) who have many more miles under those legs, but I am very happy with what I have accomplished!

Now, given all this, there is one I haven’t done.  In the Northwest it’s the Granddaddy of them all.  The biggest baddest ride we have, and it involves my old nemesis, Mt Rainier.  Yep the RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) 168 miles of steep climbs and high-speed descents! And over 10,000 feet of climbing.


The ride is limited to 700 riders by the National Park system.  And, even though it surprises people, they get MANY more applicants than spaces.  It means each year is a lottery.  Well for the past 3 years, I have entered my name and gotten aced out.  Today I found out 4 times is the charm, I am in!

I have wanted to do this since I started riding.  Back then, the ex had a friend whose husband was a cyclist.  Now, I will tell you, I can get along with almost every one I meet or work with, and in general I can tolerate anyone.  This guy though, is one of the few I completely and utterly despised.  He never did anything to me, but he was an arrogant and pompous ass, in a subtle way.  Most importantly, he was sure to work in to any conversation, “Well until you have completed the RAMROD, you are truly a cyclist…” Honestly, he is the only man I can remember that I really wanted to punch in the mouth anytime I was with him.  (And I am a peace luvin man for the most part!)

I have not seen him since 2007, and there is part of me that really hopes he is pear-shaped and too big too ride now.  Yes I know its wrong, but….

I am excited and a little apprehensive to tell the truth.  I am one helluva climber, and have NEVER met a hill I could not top on the bike.  I love the downhills and have never been intimidated by them in the least. Michelle will tell you once she heard me singing halfway down the mountain as let the bike have its way on a steep decline.  But this is a mother bear and will gain my attention.

So now, our hero here has to kick it in gear.  I am glad I did the spin classes in Spokane, that kept the legs fresh.  Now, however, there is no excuse for not getting long rides not he weekends.  I will be cycling to the top of Chinook Pass, also to Sunrise, the highest paved road in WA.

Enumclaw to Mt Rainier
Enumclaw to Mt Rainier

I had already planned on 3 century rides in May, but June will have to be just as robust.  Then, the third Thursday in July, I all be at the start line at 5 AM, loaded with water and snacks and ready to ride. I will have 14 hours or so to make it!

So wish me luck, and send me the encouraging word or 2 from time to time.  I will keep you posted on the training and you KNOW there will be a blogpost, win, lose or draw afterwards.  Let’s hope the cycling gods smile on Mountainstroh!


3 thoughts on “Ok, it just got real

  1. Congrats, Tony! You must be super-duper pumped!

    While RAMROD, in particular, may have just gotten real for you, the truth of the matter is that it’s been getting real for you all along.Those three years of waiting to win the RAMROD lotto have all been there to better prepare you mentally and physically for this ride.

    RAMROD is waaaay bigger than any mother bear I’ve ever tackled. (You call this ride a “mother bear”–I call it a “mother f*$%@#.”) And so a million hats off to you, sir. Something tells me that if you tackle RAMROD with the grace and courage with which you tackled those pony-tail bobbin’ spin classes, you’ll do just fine. 🙂

    1. Oh I’m sure the last Thursday in July when I am halfway up the 13 mile incline I was just today told about, mother BEAR will NOT be my choice of words!

      I can always count on you for encouragement! And I will see if I can get my pony tail primed and ready for the climb. One must look cute for the mt rainier chipmunks and squirrels!

      And for the record I would say cycling Portland to Portland or your ride last summer through sierras and cascades (including Crater lake) ranks as high as this one.

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